Rant alert : The year I witnessed two cremations

This has not been a good year so far.. In fact I might go so far as to say that this has been the worst year of my life.. I’ve witnessed two deaths in my own home, didn’t get selected for any good college and had to take some pretty major and devastatingly painful decisions.

I guess this is a warning of sorts.. this is not going to be a happy post.

The first death I witnessed was my maternal grandmother’s. I’ll be lying if I say I had any sort of attachment or bond with her. But, anyway, I cared about her in a humanitarian sort of way. I must seem horrible but we didn’t have much interaction despite living in the same house. I dreaded having to witness her death. When she got sick, I was just praying that I don’t wanna be there to see her die. Of course I was very afraid, having never seen death before. But life is funny I guess.. cuz I was right there in the hospital, two steps away from her room, when she took her last breath, and I had to take care of my mom till dad got there. What happened after that changed me in ways I could never have imagined.

Since  my mother has no brothers or sisters, and I have no brother, I had to perform all the rituals. I can’t explain the scene that I saw, but I never imagined that the human body is so fragile until that very moment. The fire, which was uncomfortable to us, standing five feet away.. and a person was lying right in the middle of it.. The shabad “ikk ghadi vi kise nahi tainu rakhna, jadon tere swaas muk gaye” kept ringing in my ears. The person, my family was so desperately trying to save was burned mere hours after her demise..

Obviously, I slept very uneasily that night.. I suffered from nightmares and cold shivers, but finally the morning came..  But the morning held worst surprises.. turned out now I had to collect her bones from the pyre. I swear to god ki jitni tab fati naa.. aaj tak kabhi nahi fati hogi..

Anyway, the raakh was floated in a nearby river and the poojas were done and it was all over. I was normal in a couple of days.. more important decisions awaited.. my EEE result had come out and I got sidetracked…

Then, September came. The day we were all dreading had finally come.. my aunt (my father’s sister in law), whom we had lived with all our lives.. she was at the verge of death. Of course, it was inevitable.. and with 3 long years of fight with cancer behind her, I couldn’t help but feel in a tiny corner of my mind that it was her release, that she needed it. I came back home, saw her for the last time and the next morning she expired, after having been off the ventilator for a mere half an hour.

I witnessed scenes I had never imagined in my wildest dreams. My mom, my sister, my sister in law.. they weren’t crying… they were wailing, shouting..

I didn’t know what to do.. I was shocked, confused, sleep deprived. A few hours later, her cremation took place. I can never forget that scene. A body catching on fire.. 100s of doctors.. 100s of babaas.. millions of prayers and an end like this?

I stood in front of that pyre for a long time.. thinking hard..  and I couldn’t understand what we were doing.. and then it hit me.. it was all a show. it was all a show and we were all actors.. acting out for society, for each other and for ourselves. It was all closure.. mann ki tassalli. What does it matter to a dead person whether we applied the sindoor right or not.. whether the fruits were at the right place or not.. it was all for our own benefit.. to drive it in our minds.. that yes, she really is gone.. accept it and let her go.. I realized for the first time the things I really care about in life.. the people.. the work.. what I want.. what I need.. It all came as a wave of enlightenment and I absorbed it like a dry sponge. You may call me selfish.. but well that’s what you think!

We all came home.. I went to take a bath and came back to see everyone busy in talking and reminiscing..  but I don’t know why.. I was feeling very bad.. afraid I guess.. I didn’t wanna talk about it.. about her.. or anything related to her..

Tried to contact a friend.. another friend.. but I guess everyone’s busy in their own lives.. Mind you, I’m not blaming them.. just jo baat dimaag mein thi wo bol raha hun..

Anyway.. I guess I just wanted to get all this out.. cleanse my mind or something.. I don’t know.. So here I am.. writing.. cuz what else can I do?

I hope the times get better.. for my family.. and for me.. hell.. I’ve hardly got anything going for me.. but that’s another post… bye for now..